WORTH A CHECK!!
Being a genre very close to my heart, I was very keen on getting to grips with another black metal album. Ketzer (which means 'Heretic' in German) bring their latest offering 'Starless' to the masses.
'Starless' seems to get off to a bit of a slow start that left me feeling like listening to this album would be more of a chore than a pleasure. If this was the only instance of a low point then I could happily forgive it, but more low points were to come. By around halfway through track 4 'Count To Ten' I actually cringed. It wasn't the fact that the songwriting was at fault, but it was in its execution.
Fortunately, Ketzer begin to get into their stride after this and really show what they're capable of in the amazing 'Shaman's Dance'. The raw epicness bringing back memories of early Hecate Enthroned, Hypocrisy and Emperor, my spine was ashiver with tingles and goosebumps. This was the high point for me without a shadow of doubt.
While I love what Ketzer are trying to do with raw production values and evil atmospherics, when they don't show their true colours until track 7 of a 10 track album, it's possibly too little too late. Others may disagree with me when they hear it, and I only put this across as my own opinion. Some may love 'Starless' but I personally don't. It just doesn't tick all my boxes, especially when I see what this German 5-piece is capable of.
Consistency is the keyword here, and with this much raw talent I expected something that matched the high standard of the last three tracks all the way through. 'Shamans Dance' is the saving grace. Despite its gaping low points, 'Starless' does have its own particular raw charm.
Words by Paul Clarke.